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The History of Lowburn Ferry

Gold dredging in the Clutha River near Lowburn

Lowburn Ferry is the area surrounding an historic ferry crossing over the mighty Clutha River - now Lake Dunstan - just north of Cromwell.
The formation of Lake Dunstan about 20 years ago destroyed the last evidence of the ferry crossing, but the punt and distinctive “Sugarloaf” terraces are embraced in the winery's branding.

In the early settlement days of Central Otago, Lowburn was a prominent ferry landing for travellers moving between the goldmining reefs of Bendigo and the township of Cromwell. A ferry or punt began operating on the Clutha River at Lowburn from about 1873, and the crossing, with its tree-lined approaches and picturesque setting became not only an important link between Cromwell and the lakes at Wanaka and Queenstown, but also a popular tourist excursion.
A bridge was built in 1938 replacing the punt, and the occasion was celebrated by a banquet at the Lowburn Ferry Hotel followed by a dance at the Lowburn Hall. Shortly before the punt closed, a record of its average monthly traffic included 3677 passengers, motor-cars 998, horse-drawn drays, wagons and buggies:19.

The Lowburn Ferry punt in operation in the 1920's

Partridge family circa 1910


Lowburn Ferry Vineyard, Strathburn Farm, 5 Swann Road, RD2, Cromwell, Central Otago, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (3) 445 0846, Fax +64 (3) 445 0840, Email: